The Xcerts

Stairs To Noise - The Scatterbrain EP

Written by: TL on 26/03/2011 18:13:39

Considering how I often rant against the single format, it seems all sorts of right, that one of my new favourite bands, the Scottish trio The Xcerts, should decide to boost the release of their song "Scatterbrain" with just enough extra material to make it an EP. Sure, the difference may seem minor, but to me, a handful of songs make a record infinitely more worthwhile, and gives it infinitely more identity than a mere single release. If you like a song by a band, I honestly will never understand why you would get it as a single, instead of getting its parent album and checking out more songs from that band.

That being said, "Stairs To Noise - The Scatterbrain EP" is quite obviously an upsized single, with the song "Scatterbrain" from the album of the same name appearing as the opener, but little does it matter when there are four more tracks of interesting music to be explored by eager Xcerts fans like myself.

Apart from "Scatterbrain", a rather noisy stomper that you should have heard on its parent album already, there are two new original compositions on offer in tracks two and four, "Tear Me Down" and "Let's Run". Judging from the fact that they employ exactly the same kind of sounds that made the "Scatterbrain" album so good in my eyes - namely a slightly poppier, less bitter variant of the sound Brand New employed on "The Devil And God Is Raging Inside Me" and "Daisy" - you don't need to know it to guess that these are b-sides off the album. Both of them are only very slightly inferior (if at all) to the album material, and while "Tear Me Down" strikes me as the better of them, "Let's Run" has a cool Death Cab For Cutie-ish bass-groove to it, that keeps me coming back to it anyway.

The two remaining tracks are "Mannequin Champion", which is actually the previous single "Slackerpop", here remixed with orchestral samples, and "Say Yes", originally written and performed by deceased Heatmiser frontman Elliot Smith. The former is curious, and its arrangement is cool, although it arguably thrives on the strength of the vocal melodies that haven't really changed. In a similar way, it is hard to say that The Xcerts can be credited with making "Say Yes" a good tune, but they can proudly say that their rendition also didn't subtract from the song, and fans of Scottish vocalists (see: me) can actually find frontman Murray Macleod's rendition quite an enjoyable alternative to the original.

All in all, this is a solid little release from The Xcerts, a band that already have two fine albums to their name, and have gotten the attention of many prominent people. And by consistently exploring a sound between greats such as Brand New, Biffy Clyro and Jimmy Eat World, they continually give me confidence in my belief that theirs will be a band for the ages. I only hope that they don't break under their otherwise admirable ambition to put out an album a year.


Download: Tear Me Down, Say Yes, Let's Run
For The Fans Of: Brand New, Biffy Clyro, Jimmy Eat World

Release Date 07.03.2011
Xtra Mile Recordings

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